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I don't know about you, but I love visiting my local office supply store. Where else can I pick up a planner, bargain books, furniture, and quirky pens for my pen-hoarding obsession? Whether you are shopping for school or office supplies, organizational systems for the New Year, or need an ergonomically correct office chair, Staples should be at the top of your "places to shop" list. This office supply store offers some incredible deals and perks which you may not be aware of. Read on for your crash course in Staples 101:

1. Pay attention to price matching

Staples will price match almost any item in the store. Simply bring in the ad from another store selling the same item at a lower price, and Staples will match it. Want to save even more money? Purchase the item with your Staples Rewards Card (See Tip 2), and you will also receive 5% back!  In addition, if you buy an item at Staples and find that item at the store or on Staples.com for a lower price within 14 days of purchase, they will refund the difference. Staples will price match same items sold by competitors as well as those sold by Amazon.com.

2. Sign up For Staples Rewards

Free, easy, and you get 5% back on everything in the store. This is why Staples has one of the best rewards programs out there. There are three levels to the Staples Rewards program, dependent on how much you spend annually. Here are just some of the benefits you get at each level:

  • Base Level: Receive 5% back in rewards, free shipping at Staples.com, bonus events and ink cycling rewards (you can earn $2 in rewards for each toner or ink cartridge you bring in to the store to recycle, as long as you have spent $30 on toner or ink in the past 6 months). Base members can recycle up to ten cartridges each month, while Plus and Premier level members can recycle up to 20.
  • Plus Level: Receive everything included at base level plus double the ink recycling limit, free EasyTech Services, and Staples' "Office on the Go" Program. This is a great program, especially for those who occasionally work on the go. You can earn 100 percent back in rewards—up to $10 a year—if you need to use Staples' Copy & Print services such as shredding, scanning, getting online in store, editing a document, etc.
  • Premier Level: Receive everything included in the Base and Plus level plus Staples Design Services rewards (earn 100 percent back in rewards for services such as business cards, flyers, resumes, invitations and more—up to $20 a year), instant discounts on copy and print services, double the time to redeem rewards (6 months vs. 3 months for other members) and Premier-exclusive bonus events.

Staples often has Rewards specials offering 20, 50 or 100% back in Rewards on items such as ink, paper, batteries, etc. An example of how this can be used is you can buy a case of paper, or a few packs of batteries, receive a specific percentage amount back in rewards and then use those rewards for items such as school supplies, a new desk or office gadgets.

3. Take advantage of email, traditional mail, text and social media

Signing up for Staples emails has its perks. Frequent promotions are sent out, including special discounts of up to 50% off. Staples will often send coupons via regular mail or email that allow the savings to be used on technology products or technology-related accessories, where most competitors will exclude technology from coupon offers. Coupon codes and special offers also appear regularly on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, you can text STAPLES to 555-444 to receive special deals via text alert.

4. Simple and fast rebates with Staples Easy Rebates

Long gone are the days of having every intention of filling out and mailing back a rebate form, but then letting it sit too long or forgetting about it altogether. Now, with Staples Easy Rebates, you don’t have to clip or mail forms. Upon checkout, you will receive a receipt and a rebate form, which includes your rebate number. Simply sign on to StaplesEasyRebates.com and submit your rebate number, and your check will arrive in around 4 weeks. Rewards and coupons do not negatively affect rebates, so you can use your accumulated Staples Rewards to purchase the items and then electronically submit your rebate number to receive a check in return.

5. Speak to a manager

Dependent on each store's manager, Staples will accept competitors’ coupons from stores such as Office Depot and OfficeMax, so be sure to ask at your local store to see if you can take advantage of this service.

6. Daily and Weekly Deal Lookout

Check out Staples.com each day for their Daily Deal, which can offer incredible savings on items you use regularly. For example, a recent Daily Deal from Staples was a 24-pack of Duracell AA batteries, regularly $19.99 for only $6.99. You can also check out their weekly ad on the upper right hand of their website for more deals.

7. Check Deal-of-the-Day websites

Keep an eye out for Staples gift cards at discounted prices on sites such as Groupon, 1Sale.com, Woot and Raise. Great deals come along every now and then. For example, Groupon recently had a $40 Staples gift e-card for $25.00.